Mar 032015
 
The ever-acuminate Andrea Grimes of the Texas Observer indulged a poignant twitter lecture about social trolling today, and inspired me to switch topical tracks a bit and add my thoughts.  Context is easily lost on Twitter, especially since I want to drag in some related/supportive stuff, so we’ll do it here instead. Continue reading »

Mar 012015
 
I pounded out a little cathartic bit about my online dating tragicomedy recently, and after a bit more thought and experience realized the failures there aren’t entirely my own. It occurred to me that Match is missing an element critical to any online community.

That is, the community. Continue reading »

Feb 232015
 
In my blissful pre-Internet youth, weather was a local concern and climate was something you only worried about at epochal intersections.  Like the Cambrian–Ordovician extinction event, which really sucked for trilobites but became useful to first-year Geology students millions of years later.

Today’s electronic immediacy though means everything is local and instant.  Geographic boundaries have been replaced by ideological ones that realign our interests and attention.  Thanks to the Internet, I can be a better neighbor to Timo the programmer in Finland than what’s-his-name who lives across my street.

But knowing each other’s news doesn’t necessarily put us on the same page. Continue reading »

Feb 192015
 

V_2_rocket

I recently posted a preview of a novelette in progress, Downtime.  What I didn’t say and maybe should have is that the story was inspired by one of my favorite writers, Ray Bradbury.  Two of his works factor in: Rocket Summer from The Martian Chronicles, and the immortal Fahrenheit 451.

Bradbury’s evocative visuals in Rocket Summer led me as a twelve-year old to imagine that anyone could assemble a space-worthy vehicle with the right parts and know-how.  Like many in the 1970s who got caught up in the great Space Race, I had a reasonable understanding of propulsion and was not remotely dissuaded by the fact that all of my homemade missiles had exploded on the launchpad.

Surely I just needed the proper materials; Mom’s rich assortment of household chemicals labeled Flammable!  Danger!  Explosive! just weren’t doing the trick, no matter how many I mixed together. Continue reading »

Feb 172015
 
After several years feeling mostly unmotivated, I’m getting back into fiction writing.  Fortunately I have many (too many) aborted attempts to finish, so no shortage of material.  I’m finally feeling inspired so I’ve been devoting lunch and evening time to working on a particular few.

I intend to start by publishing ebooks on Amazon, and from there who knows.  I anticipate that the first release will be Downtime, a dystopic tale about survivors of a destructive planetary shift in the future.

I’m presenting a draft of Downtime’s introduction here for your critical pleasure.  Feedback is welcome; note that this portion is mostly solidified but subject to tweaking and tightening (some passive voice needs attention, for one).

I will be sharing the full version with a select few after completion of the first draft.  I will especially be needing guidance on Finnish culture and dialog. Continue reading »

Feb 052015
 
With the recent rise of mobile assistants like Cortana, Siri and Google Now, we’re getting used to smartphones finally getting, well, smart.  I’m alerted by my Lumia 1020 when it’s time to quit annoying my dog and drive to work, and conversely, when it’s time to wake up and drive back home.

The Internet at large seems to believe I need more help than that.  Aside from ads trying to sell me what I’ve already purchased, I’m besieged by helpful spammers.  Every tweet, post or article I create is apparently just another vehicle for injecting my needs into some harvesting bot stream, and boy do they capitalize on it.  Reverse Tinnitus offers one email after I complained on Facebook.  Brain Power Without Limits promises another.

No idea what specifically triggered the second one.  It could just be my general content. Continue reading »

Feb 032015
 
Being a family guy, as many of you I’m sure know well, means ego sacrifices.  So many over time that a husband/father begins to feel like a component in a machine.  A critical one, sure, but a component nonetheless.

Speaking of machines… one of the toughest concessions I made due to marriage was choosing automotive practicality over preference.  I’ve always been a utility or sports vehicle guy.  But there’s nothing remotely sporty about the white, under-powered 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass I drove with gritted teeth during the halcyon years of married life.  The idiot who eventually stole it removed a huge albatross from my pack-animal neck. Continue reading »

Jan 282015
 
I keep running into this term “life hacking” without actually knowing what it’s supposed to mean, but on the surface it sure seems to fit what I’m embarking on this year: a personal reboot.  That includes an overdue divorce.

I haven’t started the actual divorce process yet– been very busy preparing to prepare for it though.  I envy any couples who are able to walk away from each other without any major difficulty.  My adult sons aren’t a factor, but years of accumulated crap has sure become one.  Hopefully the fact that I want free of it all, including our house, will help. Continue reading »

Jan 232015
 
The last time I assembled a home-built PC was over ten years ago.  I’d won an Opteron CPU at an AMD event at a time when those babies were very expensive and among the most powerful workstation options, so I decided to begin there.

Impatient and lacking in funds, I got real resourceful at finding deals.  Many items were of their previous generation; new enough to work for me but often heavily discounted.  Ebay was, unsurprisingly, a great place to shop.  So was Pricewatch. Continue reading »

Jan 222015
 
As some of you know, I’m separated from my wife of over two decades and preparing to divorce.  At first I couldn’t even think of getting involved with someone else, but after a year of not seeing or hearing from your ex, well, those inhibitions tend to dissolve.  I really do miss the company of others, especially the fairer sex.

A former coworker and longtime friend recommended I try Match.com, a site she swore had worked for her.  I was leery; I’d seen too many online-instigated romances fizzle or even explode.  But she ultimately convinced me and I created an account. Continue reading »

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